The aircraft (2 - fiscal year 1957)
(Thanks to various people and especially Bob Irwin, Hubert Peitzmeier, Julio Fuentes, Luis Baldoni, Tom Delashaw, Chris Baird, Rodney Trimble, Bob Preciado, Tom Mahan, Ace Rawlins and Floyd Totten)
57-910 (c/n 1227)
This Starfighter was delivered to 435th TFW at Udorn on November 18th, 1966. In December the aircraft run off the runway after a mission of 8 hours. Joe Nevers was unhurt and aircraft had no real damage.
However on January 12th, 1967 it encountered a severe landing accident at Udorn AFB resulting in a damaged beyond economical repair status. Glady pilot Joe Nevers was unhurt when the aircraft run off the runway.
The accident was caused by a so-called "hard rudder" problem which results in a very bad control of the aircraft during landing.
The aircraft was parked away on the Udorn flightline ramp and used as donor aircraft to service the other Starfighters. Finally it must have been scrapped locally. Beneath some rare photos showing the aircraft in December 1966 (thanks to Rodney Trimble) and an even more rare photo showing the wreckage of this F-104C, photographed at Udorn Air Base in 1967 by Fred Doughty.
57-913 (c/n 1230)
This Starfighter was one of the 12 additional Starfighters delivered to 435TFS at Udorn AB on July 22nd, 1966. On September 1st, 1966 it was shot down by Anti-Aircraft-Artillery in Northern Laos, while dive-bombing. The pilot Major Norman Schmidt ejected but died later on in the Hanoi Hilton as POW. The remains returned in March 1974. The aircraft flew an armed recce mission with callsign “Fresno 01” when during the pull-up it was shot down by 37-57mm AAA fire at 05:25 D time. Sadly we do not have any photos of the aircraft while stationed at Udorn Air Base.
57-914 (c/n 1231)
This Starfighter was one of the 12 additional Starfighters delivered to 435TFS at Udorn AB on July 22nd, 1966. On January 16th, 1967 it encountered technical problems forcing pilot Hugh Spencer to eject. He was unhurt. This aircraft did not carry nose-art "SexMachine" since that nose art has been applied on an other F-104C in March 1967. The interesting photo beneath was taken at Udorn after this Starfighter returned from a mission on 22 December 1966 (thanks to Joseph W. Brown Jr. via AirVietnam.com).
57-916 (c/n 1233)
This Starfighter was one of the 12 additional Starfighters delivered to 435TFS at Udorn AB on July 22nd, 1966. It was flown by Tommy L. Wilson. On a request from a crewchief he decided to give the aircraft the nickname "Time Hog". After he left Thailand the aircraft was given to Joe Nevers who had lost his 57-910 in January 1967. He changed a bit the font of the nickname which stayed the same. After Joe Nevers the aircraft was assigned to Col. USAF ret. Dennis Mangum. He flew it back to Muniz ANGB, Puerto Rico in July 1967, being assigned to 198th TFS.
|F-104C 57-916 lying over SEA in 1967.||F-104C 57-916 lying over SEA in 1967, After arrival at Muniz AFB.
The nose art is clearly visible and was applied on both sides.
|F-104C 57-916 with nose art "Time Hog" on the ramp of Udorn Air Base in 1967 (Photo by Kenneth W Buchanan)|
|Not extremely sharp but very unique color photo showing the "Time Hog" being in white color. (Photo: Joel Swanson)|
57-922 (c/n 1239)
This Starfighter was one of the 12 additional Starfighters delivered to 435TFS at Udorn AB on July 22nd, 1966. It looks like it has been flown back to the USA in January 1967 for some reason (Mc Clellan AFB) and returned to SEA in April 1967. One month later, on May 15th, it was lost due to an operational cause when he crashed into the Gulf of Tonkin due to an explosion following aerial refueling. The pilot Major Karl H. Hofmann ejected safely.
It was flying MiG CAP as number two in flight of two escorting Commando Lance (???) and College Eye (EC-121) missions over the Gulf of Tonkin. Shortly after refueling there was a severe explosion below and behind the cockpit followed immediately by illumination of both fire warning lights and loss of engine thrust. The pilot attempted to make an emergency radio transmission and to select T/O flaps but was unable to due to loss of electrical power. The pilot attempted one air start without success. With both fire warning lights on and fuel fumes in the cockpit, the pilot chose to eject at approximately 19,000 ft.
The pilot opened his chute manually at 14,000 ft and deployed his survival kit at approx 6,000 ft. He landed safely but his dinghy was only one-third inflated. He was unable to climb into the dinghy and chose to remain in the water supported by his underarm life preserver since rescue aircraft were in the area.
He used an MK-13 flare to attract the attention of a US Navy helicopter. He was rescued safely by this helicopter suffering only minor cuts and bruises.
The aircraft crashed in the Gulf of Tonkin at an undisclosed location.
|On this photo we see F-104C 57-922 in the back behind this 57-916 in front. It is the only known photographic proof of this 57-922 at Udorn.
(Photo thanks to Tommy L. Wilson, pilot of the F-104C 57-916.)
57-923 (c/n 1240)
This F-104 was delivered to Udorn AFB on 19 September 1966 to 15 November 1966. It looks like it has been flown back to the USA for some reason (McClellan) mid November 1966, returning back at Udorn in February 1967. It was flown by squadron commander LtCol Robert Preciado which gave the aircraft a nickname "Hellooo Dolly", painted on the aircraft's nose. The aircraft was named for his wife “Dolly” and the long “Hellooo” was chosen because of the famous musical “Hellooo Dolly” with Barbra Streisand. The crewchief of the aircraft was S.Sgt Bennett. After the operations at Udorn came to an end, the aircraft was flown to the USA arriving at Muniz AFB, Puerto Rico in July 1967. It was assigned to the 198th TFS from August 1968.
|F-104C 57-923 seen here at Da Nang Air Base in 1966 (Photo D. Guisinger)|
|CrewChief Sgt Bennet with Robert Preciado in July 1967.
Both proudly presenting "Hellooo Dolly". (Photo by Bob Irwin).
|435TFS crew photo taken in 1967 with Bob Preciado sitting in the middle.
In the background his F-104C aircraft 57-923 "Hellooo Dolly" confirming that this name was painted on both sides.
|57-923 with KC-135 tanker over SEA. Note the colored rudder, blue tips on tiptanks and its nose art.|
57-925 (c/n 1242)
This was 1 of the 12 Starfighters which was delivered to the unit at Udorn on July 22nd 1966. Lateron it received a nickname which was painted on the nose ("Smoke II"). The name should reflect the amount of smoke the J79 is producing normally but we never found out why they added the “II” behind it…This name was seen already on 1 August 1966, the day that it was lost in an accident killing pilot LtCol. Arthur Thomas Finney (born 26 June 1928, 38 years old). He was shot down over North Vietnam by a SA-2 SAM missile during escort of an F-105G "wild-weasel" mission at 5000 feet en-route. It flew with callsign “Dagger 0” and was shot at 4000 feet by SAM in its fuselage. The aircraft exploded and LtCol Finney was killed instantly. Others stated that he had ejected safely but this must have been a mix up by what happened to Capt Kwortnik who was shot down this same day in similar circumstances. Lt.Col Finney’s remains were returned on 14 August 1985.
|Rare photographs showing F-104C 57-925 in the ramp of Udorn AFB with nose art. (Photos: Kenneth W Buchanan, and nose only thanks to Henk Schakelaar)|
57-927 (c/n 1244)
This was also 1 of the 12 Starfighters which were delivered at Udorn AFB on July 22nd 1966. On 25 October it went into overhaul at Udorn and on the 1st of November it was given back to 435TFS as a "GB" spec F-104C. On 1st December it was modified and overhauled and given back to 435TFS as a "GF" spec F-104C. The aircraft was flown by Rodney Trimble and got nickname "Debbie Sue" after his daughter. After the end of the Starfighter operations at Udorn this Starfighter was flown back to the USA. It landed in July 1967 at Muniz AFB, Puerto Rico and was assigned to the 198th TFS from August 1968.
|F-104C 57-927 with Rodney Trimble flying a turn over the Thai countryside. The photo was taken shortly before the aircraft received its nickname “Debbie Sue” and the Texan flag on the lower part of the rudder (Thailand, late 1966, Rodney Trimble)|
|Rodney Trimble in front of his aircraft with nickname "Debbie Sue": (Udorn. 1967)||F-104C 57-927 at Udorn AFB, 1967, armed with bombs. (Photo via Bob irwin)|
57-928 (c/n 1245)
This was 1 of the 12 Starfighters which was delivered to the 435th TFS at Udorn on July 22nd 1966. On September 30th, 1966 pilot Capt. Harold Alston flew his 100th SEA mssion in the F-104 becoming the first pilot achieving this. Of course this was celebrated after landing. On 17 October the went into overhaul at Udorn and on 28th that month it was declared combat-ready again. USAF administration files show the aircraft at McClellan arriving in April 1967 for an unknown reason.
In June 1967 it was assigned to the 198th TFS at Muniz AFB as one of their first aircraft.
|57-928 arriving at Udorn AFB on September, 30th. 1966 with pilot Harold Alston finalizing his 100th SAE mission.
He was the first one achieving this and this was truly celebrated.
|57-928 with another F-104C flying aside a refuelling tanker over SEA in October 1966 (Photo by David F Brown)|
|Nice photo taken at the Udorn AFB flightline around early 1967. Clearly visible in the middle is aircraft 57-928. (Official USAF photo)|
57-929 (c/n 1246)
This was 1 of the 12 Starfighters which was delivered to the 435th TFS at Udorn on July 22nd 1966. It received overhaul at Udorn from 26th November till the 1st December 1966 and it was flown back to the USA in 1967. It was assigned to the 198th TFS at Muniz AFB, Puerto Rico.
|Photos of 57-929 at Udorn are rare. This photo was taken in 1967 but it is very strange to see the refuelling probe but also all RWR antenna's missing.
Was this taken in Udorn Air Base or already in the USA? (Photo: Chris Baird)
57-930 (c/n 1247)
This was 1 of the 12 Starfighters which was delivered to the 435th TFS at Udorn on July 22nd 1966. It received overhaul at Udorn from 7th till 11th November 1966 and it was flown back to the USA in 1967. It was assigned to the Air Force Strategic Command at Edwards AFB, first noted in October 1967.
Sadly we do not have any photos of the aircraft while stationed at Udorn Air Base.